AN initiative by Uniting is helping Manning Valley fathers and step-fathers bond with their children, as well as allowing them to start up important conversations.
Recently a group of fathers and sons went on the ultimate bonding camping trip as part of Dads’ Day Out.
More than 20 dads and children camped out together at Elands Community Centre.
They enjoyed bush walks and food made by a camp-oven cook up (which was particularly popular with the kids).
According to Uniting Community Worker Darren Harrison this type of father and son bonding time is crucial to healthy development.
“Traditionally mums have been the caregivers and nurturers, while dads are the breadwinner and workers,” Darren said.
“My job is to re-engage the natural nurturing role of fathers.
“If we miss that window of engagement for nurturing, we see the impact through behavioral problems as children grow up, and disengagement from each other.
“When the dads and their children join the activities, the fathers have a chance to really bond with their kids. They also meet other fathers in similar situations.”
Darren said drawing the men out into these situations also promotes good mental health through talking.
“We men don’t talk easily,” he said.
“But when you get blokes sitting round the campfire, it opens up conversations.
“They communicate and they feel supported. Through the activities they become friends, sharing contact details, creating mateship and a support network for each other.”
There is also a Dads’ Playgroup at Cundletown Community Centre on Saturdays, and monthly Dads’ Days Out.